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Connecting the Dots: UUSM Transition Update #4

It’s paying off!

June 18, 2024

By Tricia Dell on behalf of the Transition Team

(Diana Candee, Joan Cassman, Tricia Dell, John Farrow,

Rev. Terri Echelbarger, and Rev. Tovis Page)

"What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think to ask.” 

—Sam Keen

Thank goodness for Revs Tovis and Terri for helping us ask the right questions at the right time over the last year. We have done critical transition work, asking: Who have we been? Who are we now? Who do we want to become?

With their guidance, we’ve spent time building trust, taking a closer look at ourselves, and navigating change. For a review of our progress, check out Rev. Tovis’ article from the last Transition Update.

Who do we want to become? is the subject of this update.

The first step in the process of searching for a minister with a developmental focus is for the Board to decide on 3-4 concrete goals for the period of developmental ministry. Typical goals can be about finances, facilities, church culture, conflict, administrative processes – anything the congregation needs to work on that is too ambitious to address during a transitional ministry (like we’re in now) and requires specific expertise.

When done well, these goals will attract candidates that are a good fit for UUSM and its needs — and, their needs and interests, or a calling if you will.

(For background and rationale for how the decision was made to search for a contract minister with a developmental focus, read the recommendation to the Board from the Transition Team here.)

Growing Together: Intentional Development  

Community Conversation No. 4

The goal of the June 2nd community conversation was to begin a process of discernment about where opportunities exist for growth, and where a Minister with a developmental focus might lead us to better realize those opportunities. Typically, congregations create one goal for a year of work.

Attendees met in small groups and were asked to consider together what developmental goals we might create out of the issues identified over the past several years of transition. Each group received a list of the identified issues and were asked to come up with three goals. There were six groups of 4-6 people each. When all groups completed their list, the goals were laid out on easel paper and the full group placed stickers on their top three choices.

Goals with the most stickers involved community outreach, serving and welcoming a diverse and multigenerational congregation, and strengthening our administrative systems.

On behalf of the Transition Team, thank you to those of you who attended the community conversation and took the first step in creating language for our developmental goals - not an easy process. The goals are beginning to coalesce and they reflect the careful, intentional work of the Transition Team, along with so many of you who have participated in the process.

Your efforts are starting a very important conversation we’ll be having over the next six months as the (still forming) Ministerial Search Committee creates a congregational profile to support our search for a new minister.

All of the work we have done together is starting to pay off. Thank you!

P.S. If you have any suggestions for developmental goals, please email me and I will pass them on to the transition team.



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